Hello I’m the owner of Thunderbolt Host. I haven’t been contributing to business websites since 2013 when I sold Social Media Sun, my last web development blog, but I recently decided to start publishing new content on Thunderbolt Host.
Recently I was talking to a boy that just graduated high school about what his plans were for his future. It became very clear very quickly that his teachers, guidance counselors and parents were giving him poor advice.
One thing I can do to contribute to society is to teach other people that may not have lots of opportunities how to succeed in the modern U.S. economy using widely available resources.
Even though the United States is relatively wealthy and successful compared to the rest of the world the average person is bitter because Jeff Bezos and other businessmen make billions every year even though the guy who packs boxes for Amazon just makes $30,000.
What people don’t realize is that Amazon has created 40,000 millionaires that isn’t Jeff Bezos. They don’t realize that $30,000 is enough to become one of those millionaires. I want to help you and your children become millionaires.
We live in a country that is best suited for this endeavor, but the most accessible advisors don’t teach and motivate people properly to operate with the technology and opportunities that are available to us.
Setting up a legitimate business seems unattainable to many. In reality the biggest step is overcoming your fear of failure and taking the steps to make it a reality. I’m not trying to sell you a dream; I just think it’s cool to be your own boss and have your day job coincide with the things you enjoy. I think everyone could use a little extra income. These things are attainable.
An Environment of Gratitude
I had poor advisors as a kid too. I was lazy in school even though I was probably the smartest kid in my class.
I actually won 1st place for General Knowledge in the school district and lead my quick recall team in academics to a first place finish in district competition.
Now this is the first thing I’m going to teach you, don’t be this guy. I mentioned an achievement to stress that my advisors dropped the ball – not to relive glory days when I was a 13 year old dork waking up early on Saturdays to go take tests. One thing all the biggest losers my age have in common is that they all have stories of faded glories.
When talking about their past it’s always about the pretty girl they dated 15 years ago, the basketball game they won in high school, the academic achievement that has long been forgotten by everyone else.
Most of the successful people I know have an entirely different story. It’s “I am successful because this person”, or “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for this teacher giving me an opportunity”, or “This guy taught me everything I know”.
When you hunt these mentors down they remember it quite differently – it’s always “I didn’t do anything, little Suzie was incredibly gifted and earned everything she has ever gotten”.
Suzie doesn’t see it like that though. Her success is grounded in gratitude.
This tells me two things. First that having a mindset rooted in gratitude and cooperation is superior to having a mindset of personal achievement.
The second and most important thing is that young people that have and listen to good advisors succeed, and the ones that don’t will fight an uphill battle the rest of their life.
I want you to focus on a better future not a better past. Positivity will play an important part in your future success and when your focus is on gratitude you don’t have to tell people how successful you are.
Something you should know about the most successful people is that their business and investment interests are diversified.
Joshua Bekenstein who was the director of Bain Capital sits on the boards of Bain Capital, Bombardier Recreational Products, Waters Corporation, Dollarama, Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, and Bright Horizons Family Solutions.
I believe diversification is a key component of success and currently am involved as an officer of 3 businesses.
I am the Chief Operating Officer of the small business that demands most of my time, and every year I have nearly doubled our revenues.
As of the end of 2019 the business is consistently doing $15,000-$20,000 in monthly sales.
That’s not extremely impressive, but what if I told you that this is a side business for a business that is already operating successfully? A business that is run by employees the owner already has in space he already owns?
An extra $240,000 in revenue each year is nothing to scoff at.
I have been designing websites since I was 13, since 1998. My first websites were hobby wrestling websites.
After some bad luck I got tired of working on the Internet and only completed a few projects throughout high school and college (I have an associates degree in Computer Aided Drafting in case you’re wondering). I basically missed out on the golden age of the Internet, but there will always be other opportunities.
After college I picked up some big projects as side work and eventually started writing online for Yahoo!. I was a featured contributor for Yahoo! technology, politics and Yahoo! News. I was named a Yahoo! rising star and Hot 100 contributor.
This led me to creating a string of websites which I would eventually re launch as Social Media Sun in February 2012.
Social Media Sun was an online magazine that focused on teaching entrepreneurs and their employees how to leverage Social Media Marketing to grow their business.
I had plans to eventually build Social Media Sun into a conference that would visit 5 cities. My hobbies slowed down my output at the time so I sold Social Media Sun in 2013 to a wonderful entrepreneur from Ukraine named Ann Smarty that ran My Guest Blogger.
Between 2013 and 2017 I handled SEO, online Ad Campaigns on Facebook and Google and content for some medium sized clients. Most are still my clients today.
In the interest of not seeming like a shill, protecting my own personal interests and the interests of my partners I’m not going to mention any business interests that are currently active for me on this website unless there is a public partnership or collaboration. That means no promotion and not disclosing the names of the businesses when I share data, successes and lessons.
I will say this; I am a major part of 3 current businesses one of which is Thunderbolt Host. The other 2 are very successful primarily because my experience and expertise operating websites and online webstores.
After having consistent success for my clients for several years I wanted to duplicate the success for myself. I currently have a 100% success rate since 2012 for long term projects and clients that follow my strategies.
I do have a handful of clients that did not follow the strategy or put in the work, numerous projects I didn’t follow through with and I have had 1 client that I handled poorly and had poor results.
I try to be transparent so I will elaborate on this one a little more. Right after selling Social Media Sun one of my followers asked me if I would do a website cheaply for a non-profit she was involved in. I had intended to take a break so I didn’t want to do it, but she had been a huge supporter of my work.
I practically gave the work away and set it up so they would move onto my hosting which had a handful or projects (this was a bad idea from the start, I was just trying to figure out the cheapest way for them). I ended up delivering the website ahead of schedule and everything worked perfectly, but then the board wanted to do a name change. I essentially re-did the whole website over for the same price. They didn’t follow through with the strategy and never added more products to their store.
Shortly after there was a security breach and the hackers installed one of those scripts that reroute visitors. I believe that one of their employees fell for a phishing scam, but can’t be certain. Due to how the hosting was structured my other websites were affected. I reach out to security experts and to entirely scrub the whole server would have costed more than I had charged them for the website. Their website was broken and at the time I was too disillusioned to fix it. I asked them to move their web properties.
This incident led me to revamp all my standard security procedures and tap some WordPress security experts to learn more about system vulnerabilities. Security became a cornerstone of my development process. I also quit taking any projects that I wasn’t completely enthusiastic about and stopped lowering the price for friends.
How Can Someone With Potential and Numerous Successes Fail?
Like I mentioned I was lazy in school. My teachers would make excuses like “he’s bored”, but it boiled down to me being uninterested in what they were teaching and peer pressure form my friends.
This leads me to a second important lesson: always compliment and praise your friends and associates abilities. Always disregard any so called friends that put you down. Success is a good thing but a lot of people will be jealous of you or your family’s success.
If you have a friends that does well in school make sure they know you are proud of them. Part of your success depends on opportunities and networking so even if you’re a sociopath then do it for your own selfish reasons. Nobody will benefit from someone with potential in your town or area of influence becoming discouraged.
Luckily some of them put a premium on being a hard worker so even though I’d sleep in class I would cut weeds and do anything else I could to earn money once I got home.
I planned to become a conductor for the railroad until a job at Ford opened up. I had family connections at both and since I had made so much money scheming during high school I wasn’t worried or focused on education or my future. I just assumed everything would come easy.
The railroad job fell through and Ford never opened applications. I bounced around from a couple jobs that didn’t require any specialization, and eventually conceded to applying for community college.
I failed out 2 semesters in college but finally turned it around once I got into the Computer Aided Drafting program at BSCTCS. I really enjoyed doing the work and stayed on both the Dean’s List and President’s list during my entire time in the program.
I maintained a 4.0 and graduated with honors in 2008.
While holding down an engineering job I started doing side projects. Whether it was a website like Social Media Sun or making pocket knives to sell on Ebay I always kept a second steady stream of income.
Around 2015 the changes Obama had made to EPA regulations had crushed the regional coal mining industry and my time in engineering had come to an end.
The industry with the most growth in my area was the Medical field. I wasn’t a nurse so I got my foot in the door with the web development skills I had honed since I was 13.
During all this time I would spend my disposable income on my hobbies and traveling. In 2017 I spent nearly $10,000 on guitars and other music equipment while playing in the praise band at a local church.
I have made a couple mistakes dealing with my finances even while consistently generating an impressive amount of disposable income for the region I live in. The biggest two would be wasting my profit and undervaluing my services.
You can do all the work in the world but if you do not charge enough for it or waste the fruits of your labors it won’t lead to the level of success most people strive for.
I don’t like making excuses, but I have had to figure out a lot of this myself as I went along and I’m sure it has cost me thousands of dollars and years of time.
I would have loved to had more mentors that would have advised me on how to leverage my projects and skills.
I have been lucky enough to meet some professionals and follow some very well informed blogs over the years, but I’m always envious when I read about how they learned the basis of expert level skills during a short training period and quickly became stars in their agencies.
Why Listen to Me?
I’m not a millionaire, but I am on a trajectory that will get me there within the next 10 years and I started it while I was making less than $30,000 per year from my primary employment and had a newborn baby to look after as a single father. A lot of people can relate to that; if you don’t make yourself comfortable financially then no one else is going to do it for you.
My projects are always successful when I push them past infancy and my formula for success has worked so many times that I’m confident that it’s likely to work for your business and situation too.
I also have a lot of experience. I’ve been building websites since I was a kid and doing websites for businesses for over 10 years.
Other people think I know what I’m talking about. I started saving positive Tweets in 2012 when I was working on Social Media Sun and in the 9 months that it was active I had 212 people say positive things about my work or that it helped them. I was most well known for breaking down complex algorithms, relating business and marketing ideas to the Internet and predicting future trends.
There are definitely smarter people on the Internet than me, but the more viewpoints you are exposed to the more well rounded your ideas will become. A lot of them charge a hefty price for their advice. I will read anything that interests me because I’ve never met anyone that I can’t learn something from.
The people you see online that heavily criticize people they hardly know, knock ideas before they investigate them or argue incessantly are the people that need this type of advice the most. They have to find their own way to the well though.
Why Do I Do It?
I didn’t become serious about saving and investing until 2018 when my son was born.
If I live to see him turn 18 I promise one thing – he won’t be stuck with piss poor advisors. It won’t always be me – there’s always someone that specializes that will know a little more.
I’ll do whatever it takes though to make sure he’s equipped to make the best use of his time and earnings.
Part of the reason I have rededicated myself to developing businesses that leverage the Internet (and teaching others how to do the same thing) is in case I don’t live long enough to give him the advice that other people won’t.
Even though the technologies and platforms will surely change by then, a lot of the strategies and core advice won’t. You’ll still have to acquire skills and apply them, you’ll still have to invest your earnings and you’ll still be working for people you may not like working for unless you’re working for yourself.
Why Hire Me
If I didn’t impress you with the accolades I received in community college 15 years ago, hopefully my graphs will – but they shouldn’t. Just because someone was successful last time or for one project doesn’t mean they’re going to be successful with yours.
I suggest reaching out to me and let me give you a free analysis and recommendation. If it makes sense to you, then we can talk about hiring me.
Even if you don’t like me or my ideas you will be able to use our conversation to help gauge the credibility and expertise of the other organizations you contact.
CEO & Lead Developer